Tranna Wintour is a Montreal-based comedienne/performer who has a sense of humor as impressive as her long-as-hell legs. After falling in love with her via the Interwebs, we got in touch, in an attempt to understand what makes Tranna so goddamn fabulous. And though she’s busy prepping for her upcoming one-woman show, “Trantasy,” at the Montreal Fringe Fest, she graciously sent some answers over.
So let’s begin with your name: it’s amazing. How did you land on that?
Back in 2009, I went to see The September Issue in theaters and fell madly in love with Anna Wintour. Naturally I decided to dress up as her for Halloween. That same year a friend of mine dressed up as a transgender version of Justin Bieber—I know that sounds redundant—and she called herself ‘Trans Bieber.’ So I said, well I guess that makes me ‘Tranna Wintour’ and I’ve kept the name ever since. I adore Mama Wintour as a character—I love the way people fear her (even though I’m sure in reality she’s actually quite a boring woman) and I love her power. My name/her name gives me the extra little bit of confidence and power I need to take things to the next level when I’m on stage.
Tell us a bit about how you got started in comedy.
Growing up I never could have dreamed in a million years I would be a comedian—it was never even a thought. I’ve always been a performer, that energy has always been the truest part of my nature, but I had a hard time figuring out how to express my creativity in a way that was fulfilling. I always enjoyed acting and singing and writing, but none of those things on their own truly fulfilled me. It was actually my discovery of Sandra Bernhard’s work a few years ago that changed everything for me. Seeing the way she mixes comedy, monologue, poetry, fashion and music all together just blew me away. Her work changed my life. It turns out comedy was what I had been searching for all along and since I’ve started doing comedy, nothing has ever felt more right or more natural.
What can audiences expect from your new one-woman show “Trantasy”?
People can expect glamour, pop ballads, emotion, laughter, sexual confusion, spirituality, Mariah Carey worship—basically, this show is some of the best entertainment you’ll ever get for $10. I’ve been working my ass off on this show and I will be giving audiences everything I possibly have to give as a performer. “Trantasy” is the culmination of everything I’ve been working on over the past two years. I’m putting together all of my best material, throwing in some new stuff and centering it all around the idea of fantasy. I think our truest, most authentic selves are the selves that live in our fantasies—the selves we dream of being out loud. The greatest thing a person can do is live their fantasies and make them reality. If my show gives even a single person the push they need to make their fantasies come true, and to be their most authentic selves out loud, I will be one very happy showgirl.
You and GAL seem to share a love of offbeat vintage glamour. Are there any vintage style icons who helped shape your look?
There are so many style icons I’ve been influenced by and I always try to honor them in my sartorial choices—Amanda Lear, Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli, Dalida, Faye Dunaway, Dottie West, Julie Newmar as Catwoman, the Wicked Witch of the West, Joan Collins, ’70s Cher, Miss Piggy, and anyone who’s ever worn a sequined cape.
What is your beauty routine?
I wash and moisturize my face with the most basic moisturizer: Ponds. I put on music (99% of the time it’s a Kylie Minogue album). Music is essential to my beauty routine. I take out all the makeup I need and lay it out. I start by doing my eyes—everyone knows the most indispensable eye product is Urban Decay’s eye primer. I always tend to go for a smoky eye. Then I do my foundation and blush, followed by my brows. The brows are the most important part. We’ve always been told our eyes are the windows to our soul, but I disagree—our brows are the windows to our soul. There’s no greater feeling of accomplishment than the one you get when you get your brows just right. And there is no greater horror than when they come out a bit wonky, but luckily that doesn’t happen too often. After my brows I do my lips (my current favorite lipstick is MAC’s “Captive”) and the very last thing I do is apply my mascara (“Smoky Extravagant” by Makeup Forever). Before I get dressed I put on lots of perfume. I have a dozen perfumes I alternate depending on my mood. Nothing smells better than “Fleurs d’Oranger” by Serge Lutens but it’s so fucking expensive, so I only wear it on very special occasions. I’ll be wearing it for the entire run of “Trantasy.” Smelling good is the key to success.
Who are a few of your favorite Grown Ass Ladies who inspire you to live your best life?
I love this question because in everything I do, I always try to honor the amazing women who inspire me, and there are so many: Kylie, Liza, Cher, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, Eartha Kitt, Tina Turner… But the women who have inspired me the most profoundly are my mom, my grandmother, Mrs. Martella (my 9th grade English teacher), RuPaul, and Sandra Bernhard.
If you could time-travel to anywhere/time, where would it be, and what would you do when you got there?
Without any hesitation, I would travel back to 1978 and I would head straight to Studio 54. Actually, first I would go to Halston’s place for some pre-party action and try to become best friends with Liza. I’m very well aware that there were actually much better clubs around at the time, like Paradise Garage, but no place represents the decadence and glamour of disco better than 54. It was the most opulent, hedonistic time ever. No wonder disco died out so quickly: there’s no way a party that good could last forever. I am a total disco glamour girl at heart and I really wish I had been a part of that time, for the clothes alone! Disco is the only kind of music that truly brings people together—how could you listen to a disco beat and not want to dance?